Joining an established forensic science association can benefit you in a number of ways. First, it looks great on your resume and shows you are already working to be active in your chosen field. Second, it gives you opportunities to network with others who have the same interests, gives you opportunities for publication, and may even lead you to an internship in your area. Some associations even have scholarship opportunities for their members or offer training courses and certifications which will boost your chances of getting hired after graduation.
Which organization should you choose? Take a close look at them and pick the ones that best match your interest and desired career. Forensic Science is a vast field, that’s why these associations are so important. They connect you with people around the United States (and sometimes around the world) who share your passion.
The American Academy of Forensic Sciences – The AAFS offers many resources for students including help deciding on a future career, job postings, training courses and certification. Student affiliates must be full time in order to qualify for membership. Graduate and undergraduate students are accepted as long as your degree program puts you on track for a forensic science profession.
The Chartered Society of Forensic Scientists – The CSFS is based in the UK but accepts members worldwide. Forensic science undergraduate students may join at a discount and gain access to their training, events and publications.
Microscopy Society of America – The MSA is open to full time students interested in microscopy and microanalysis. Students pay a reduced membership fee and get a subscription to their journal, the ability to apply for undergraduate research scholarships and access to all of their educational training materials. They also offer focused interest groups so you can network in with people in your discipline and certification courses to further your education.
The Association for Psychological Science – Forensic psychology students will benefit from joining the APS, they offer discounted rates for grads and undergrads as well as research awards and grants. They also have a mentorship program, employment opportunities and a monthly journal.
The High Technology Crime Investigation Association – The HTCIA welcomes undergraduate and graduate students majoring in forensics and related fields. Student memberships are offered at a reduced price and they allow you to post your resume on their website as well as network with established professionals in your field. You could gain the opportunity to speak at some of their meetings, browse through their job board or chair a student committee.
The American Chemical Society – The ACS offers graduate and undergraduate students discounted membership rates, access to journals and scholarly publications via their library, discounted life and health insurance and even FedEx shipping discounts. They offer a variety of local chapters and you may be able to directly network with others in your area to arrange internships or ask questions about your future career.
The Fingerprint Society – This is an international, UK based organization open to students and professionals who focus on fingerprint identification. Members receive their quarterly journal Fingerprint Whorld and access to their events.
The International Veterinary Forensic Sciences Association – The IVFSA has members from sixteen different countries including the United States, all dedicated to applying forensic science to veterinary services. They are student friendly, any full time undergraduate or graduate can join at a discounted rate.
North American Forensic Entomology Association – The NAFEA is dedicated to applying forensics to the field of entomology and welcomes all members (students and professionals) interested in furthering the field. When available, they list student research scholarships and internship opportunities.
The International Association of Bomb Technicians and Investigators – The IABTI has an ongoing scholarship fund and members receive their journal Detonator six times a year. They offer local chapters as well as seven regional training conferences throughout the year.
The International Association of Forensic Linguists – The IAFL offers a discounted membership to students as well as the opportunity to network with others in the field. They produce the International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law.
In addition to these associations there are also regional groups like the Northeastern Association of Forensic Scientists (NAFS), The Mid-Atlantic Association of Forensic Scientists (MAAFS) and the Southwestern Association of Forensic Scientists. So, get out there and get connected! Talk to professionals in your field and look into the scholarship opportunities available. There are also a variety of forensic science scholarships available aside from those offered by the various organizations listed here. If you’re looking for funding for your research or to complete your degree, check out the Top 5 Forensic Science Scholarships you need to Know About.